Analogue, maker of retro consoles for games from the SNES to the Game Boy, are back with their most ambitious project yet: a Nintendo 64-compatible machine called the Analogue 3D.
The company hasn’t announced a price point or release date beyond “2024,” but with no official N64 Mini from Nintendo and the pitfalls of emulated N64 games ported to Switch Online, it could end up being Analogue’s biggest launch ever. That’s bad news for anyone who remembers the painful wait to try and get a pre-order for the Analogue Pocket, but great news for everyone with a collection of old N64 games who wants to be able to play them at the best quality possible.
The Analogue 3D promises to output video at 4K resolution and support a wireless controller made by 8BitDo via Bluetooth. Because Analogue’s devices are FPGA-based, the games are played at the hardware level, reducing the lag and output issues from emulated solutions most people are familiar with on PC, smartphones, and even Nintendo’s own products.
“Even Nintendo can’t get it right with ports, software emulation is about 90 percent compatible with tons of issues,” Analogue founder Christopher Taber wrote in an email. “This is where emulation takes a real cliff dive. Analogue 3D solves all of it.”
Because Analogue’s devices are only intended to play original cartridges, there’s no official support for copyrighted ROMs. That’s something the company has always been very emphatic about, even as fans have found ways to jailbreak the devices and eventually side-load games without using the original cartridges.
Instead, the Analogue 3D is, on paper at least, aimed at players with an existing library of N64 games who want to be able to experience them again in a more perfect format. Given the timelessness of the console’s multiplayer games, including Mario Kart 64, Super Smash Bros. 64, GoldenEye 007, and Wave Race 64, I’m sure there are plenty of retro connoisseurs out there who would jump at the chance to see their nostalgic couch-coop sessions looking good on 4K displays with no compromises on performance.